Class begins today by opening the floor to student volunteers who desire to read their original sonnets or odes in the spirit of a poetry reading. To spice things up a bit (and knowing that I have a few hams in each of my classes), I have brought in a few props for my students to use during their readings, should they so desire.
The poetry reading allows time not only for the reading of original student work, but for student commentary on the work as well. I like to encourage "writer to writer" comments from my students, when they share their written work aloud with the whole class, which helps to establish and maintain a respect for the craft.
I also love the way poetry readings like these tend to bring out the closet poets in my students. It never seems to fail that we get the surprise pleasure of hearing from at least one student who rarely speaks in class, who turns out to be a remarkable poet.
My students continue to surprise me with the level and depth of their writing . . .
. . . but it was the performance of City of the Angels that really brought the house down.
The remainder of the period is devoted to reviewing Vocabulary Eight, with words from "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Byshhe Shelley (dirge, sepulchre, cleave, zenith, impetuous) and Bad Boy, chapters 11-12 (romp, mortified, tenuous, ostracize, ethereal).
As my students copy down the definitions, I ask them to identify the parts of speech for most of the words, based on how they are defined. I find this to be a good habit for my students to get into, and I often make it part of the vocabulary reviews, as it tends to help them use the words properly as they incorporate them into their own vocabularies. I have also included the sentences in which we first encountered the words, from either the Shelley poem or from Bad Boy. I give my students the option of copying down the sentence I have included or of creating and sharing with the whole class an original sentence of their own.
I have finally reached the point, as this set brings us to 80 words thus far in the year, where I am allowing my students to choose the homework assignment they will do for this set of words from the five options I give them on the last slide of the review. This has been one of the goals of varying the vocabulary assignments each time, so that my students are exposed to a number of different ways to learn and study for vocabulary, and are then given opportunities to choose a method that works best for them at various points throughout the year.